Nick Lopez was born in Ogden, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah. His family has a strong military tradition, and he always wanted to be a Marine. After graduating high school in 1983 Nick began to have legal and financial problems that first drove him to Columbus, Ohio and then into the Marine Corps. He talks about his experience in boot camp on Parris Island and how he was going to make something of his life. He graduated as a heavy equipment operator and was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Early in his military career he traveled to Okinawa, Japan and afterwards went to Thailand. He describes the culture, relationships, weather and environment in these areas while he was there. He describes his experience going to NCO school and also his chance to go to Hawai’i before his first son was born. His switch to the Marine Corps Reserve was made to spend more time with his kids but he found that he was not keeping himself busy enough so he went back to Active duty in time for Desert Storm in August, 1990. His unit flew into Saudi Arabia where they spent eight months working an average of ten hours a day supplying other units for Operation Desert Shield. He explains the chaotic nature of the first gulf war from his vantage points in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Nick talks about the patriotic American pandemonium during his return home. Soon after his return, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and looked into becoming a Drill Instructor. For Drill Instructor training, he went back to Parris Island to face an even more intense boot camp. He didn’t care much for his swimming pool position he was given after training and also began to have serious marital problems. In an attempt to save his marriage he chose not to reenlist and instead joined the 1457th Army National Guard unit in Murray, Utah. Quickly frustrated by the dynamics of the Army National Guard, Nick decided to switch to the Marine Corps Reserve with Charlie Company at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. During the Utah winter Olympics in 2002, Nick decided to switch to Fox Company as a 1st Sergeant. Not long after joining, his unit was deployed as a Quick Reaction Force in California. For most of the time his unit drilled but he took the time to get to know his unit better. Shortly after the deployment to California Fox Company was again activated and shipped to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division in support of operation Iraqi Freedom. Nick discusses the initial problems with communication, rumors, and disputes between officers. He recalls feeling like his unit was often short of supplies simply because it was a Reserve battalion. In addition, he describes the problems he experienced with the embedded Japanese journalist in his unit. He describes the combat his unit encountered, the effect combat had on his Marines, and the basic strategy his unit took approaching Baghdad. Furthermore, Nick explains the dynamics of the chain of command and his opinion on the state of Iraq today along with how it has changed since he was there. He discusses returning home and the medical problems his unit experienced, particularly PTSD symptoms. Nick later served with Fox Company in Japan, California, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Israel. He reaped benefits from his service in the Marine Corps but intends to retire and finish his career as a Sergeant Major.